Monday, December 27, 2010

Vietnam warmly greets the fifth million international visitor

Vietnam National Administration of Tourism (VNAT) on December 24 held a ceremony to welcome the fifth million foreign visitor to Vietnam in 2010, at Noi Bai International Airport.

Zhou Ying - the fifth million foreign visitor to Vietnam on December 24

The fifth million foreign visitor to Vietnam

Zhou Ying, a Chinese auditor, who flew into Vietnam on flight VN901, from Beijing to Ha Noi, was the lucky visitor. The VNAT also offered a tour for two people from Hue to Hoi An, to the fifth million foreign visitor - Zhou Ying.

Nguyen Van Tuan, the general director of the Viet Nam National Administration of Tourism (VNAT) said five million is the highest number they have had in 20 years. It also proven that Vietnam has become one of the top destinations in the ASEAN region. This is because of its image as a safe and friendly destination.

The tourism industry sector also offered gifts and campaign medal to the 4,999,999th foreign visitor – a Chinese visitor and the 5,000,001 – also a Chinese visitor. All the lucky visitors flew into Vietnam on flight VN901, from Beijing to Hanoi.

Thursday, December 23, 2010

ACTIVE TRAVEL VIETNAM UPDATES DISCOUNT POLICIES FOR LOYAL TRAVELERS 2011

Active Travel Vietnam ( www.activetravelvietnam.com ) has updated discount policies for travelers who plan to travel Vietnam, Laos and Cambodia. ATV also offers special discount for loyal travelers and their relatives or friends in 2011

Book a private tour or more and take the advantage of our discounts to save the money. Get discount when travelers travel with their family and friends, get discount when travelers book more than one tour at the same time... Travelers can save up to 10% or more. Enjoy our discount now!

Kayaking tour in Halong Bay, VietnamKayaking tour in Halong Bay, Vietnam

Travel with Family and Friends and save money

6 or more – Save 3%: If a group of 5-8 people travels together, a discount of 3% per person applies to the LAND-only portion of their tour. So it pays to get together with their family and friends!

9 or more: If 9 or more people travel together, ATV offers attractive group discounts based on how many people travel. In a group of 9 passengers, 1 traveler qualifies for a 50% discount off the LAND-only portion of the tour. In a group of 16 passengers, 1 traveler qualifies for 100% discount off the LAND-only portion of the tour.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Christmas spirit stretching across Vietnam

The exciting atmosphere of Christmas has filled the streets from Hanoi to Ho Chi Minh City with striking colours and decorations.

In Ho Chi Minh City, major streets such as Dong Khoi, Hai Ba Trung, Le Loi, Nguyen Hue, Nguyen Thi Minh Khai and Tran Hung Dao were covered with lights and Merry Christmas decorations.

Ben Thanh Market, Ho Chi Minh city, Vietnam Ben Thanh Market, Ho Chi Minh city, Vietnam

Saigon Tax Trade Centre, which attracts many visitors on holidays and festivals, has been decorated with distinguished features of different countries such as France, Egypt, Italy and Vietnam.

Hoang Thi Kim Xuyen in District 1, who was taking her children to walk around the streets shared, “Christmas this year, the decoration style of hotels are simple but extremely meaningful. Coming here, my children can play and also learn about specific characteristics of countries around the world.”

Not only locals but also international tourists are interested to see images displayed in Vietnamese hotels and streets during the Christmas holiday season. Mr. Ambrey, a French traveler said, “I can not imagine that I can see images of my country here. Watching the Christmas scenery in Vietnam makes me miss my hometown and family.”
Most high-rise buildings, hotels and restaurants are decorated with signs of Christmas. The upcoming Christmas holiday at Kenh Dao Area, Phu My Hung New Urban Area, has brought a bustling atmosphere for people.

Streets in Nha Trang City, central Khanh Hoa Province, are also exciting and colourful with sparkling trees, symbols of Santa, lights, and children who are wearing Christmas clothes. The cooler weather seems to make it feel even more like Christmas.

Lights, pipe trees, reindeer and Santa Claus are also being largely displayed in streets in Hue City, central Thua Thien-Hue Province. The weather in Hue has been very nice with warm sun in the daytime with cooler temperatures at night, encouraging locals to flock to the streets to welcome Christmas early.

Hotels, supermarkets and restaurants have been decorated with themes of Christmas. “Recently, more customers have come to our supermarket, boosting the sales,” a salesclerk at Big C Supermarket shared.

Many young people have come to big stores and supermarkets to buy gifts for their friends and relatives and shopping has been on the rise.

Ho Chi Minh City:

Christmas in Vietnam
Christmas in Vietnam
Christmas in Vietnam
People buying Noel clothesPeople buying Noel clothes
Nha Trang city:

Christmas in VietnamHue city:

Christmas in Vietnam
Christmas in Vietnam
Source : dtinews

Recommendation for Christmas Holidays in Vietnam:
Biking Tours in Vietnam
Family adventure tours in Vietnam

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Ha Long Bay, Con Dao Islands among best tourist destinations

Two of Vietnam’s coastal destinations have been listed among the world’s ten most outstanding tourist destinations by Lonely Planet Magazine, according to the Vietnam National Administration of Tourism (VNAT).

Ha Long Bay, in the northern province of Quang Ninh, has made it onto the list of the 10 most outstanding coastal destinations.

Ha Long Bay, Vietnam

About 500 ships ply the waters of Ha Long Bay, designated as the World Heritage site in 1994, carrying millions of tourists every year, according to the VNAT.

Quang Ninh has attracted 5.3 million visitors so far this year, 2.5 million of whom visited Ha Long Bay.

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Adventure hike in Cat Tien National Park, Vietnam

Only 170 kilometers from HCMC, Cat Tien is an ideal piece of the wild for an Vietnam adventure trip.

Vietnam National Parks
At more than 71,000 hectares, Cat Tien National Park has plenty of untamed places that are off the beaten track.

Hiking or biking are the best ways to travel on the forest tracks. The park has important conservation value because of the rainforest, mountains, river and rich biodiversity that attracts thousands of tourists and scientists from all over the world.

Instead of risking it alone, the team at Vietnam Adventure, organizes hiking and biking trips into the Cat Tien jungle with a back-up crew to make sure nothing goes wrong.

Catch the bus from HCMC in the afternoon to the national park in Tan Phu Commune, Dong Nai Province, arriving in plenty of time for a good night’s sleep in accommodation at the park headquarters. The hike starts early the next day to avoid the mid-day heat and jungle humidity.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

ACTIVETRAVEL ASIA and Caritas Switzerland working together in a survey of a responsible tourism project in Quan Ba, Ha Giang province, Vietnam

In cooperation with Caritas Switzerland in Vietnam, ACTIVETRAVEL ASIA (ATA) is going to survey Quan Ba, a little-known area 40km north of Ha Giang Town, for identifying the potential of eco tourism and community tourism development in the area. The survey trip happens in mid December.

The survey is beginning step of 3-year project named “ Quan Ba District Integrated Community Development Project, Ha Giang province ”. This project is implemented by Caritas Switzerland in Vietnam to set up sustainable livelihood for the poorest households and the poorest community with attention to indigenous knowledge, strengthening the culture which is facing a risk of oblivion, and obtaining sustainable maintenance of the environment resources.

In this project ATA plays the role of sustainable tourism development consultant and will be the key partner of Caritas through out the project. In a week the inspection team will scan the whole area, mapping all the potential routes for different activities like trekking, biking,… the team also check on the current condition of local homestay as well as the infrastructure of the whole area.

After the trip, ATA inspection team is going to report to Caritas existing natural and social condition of Quang Ba in developing eco tourism and community tourism. The team also propose a plan to for sustainable tourism development in the area.

Ha Giang, VietnamHa Giang, Vietnam

Background of destination

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

ACTIVETRAVEL ASIA organized Unique Tour like “ James Bond film” near Angkor Wat, Cambodia

Travelers become the commandos with a mission to release the British Journalist in deep jungle of Cambodia who are searching a treasure and kidnapped by some Khmer rouge Soldiers. The commandos fly in on helicopter from Bangkok, Thailand and land and walk through jungle in Cambodia, crossing stream, abseiling big rock at night to reach the ruin.

The ruin in the deep jungleThe ruin in the deep jungle, Cambodia

In the ruin of a 1000-year old temple hidden in deep jungle of Phnom Kuleane Mountain, 70 km from Siem Reap, Cambodia, a British journalist is captured and tortured badly by some Khmer rouge soldiers. The journalist has a mission of searching for a treasure that is believed to keep a great power which can open the door to future and could change the future of the world. The journalist has the coordinates where the treasure is hidden and he was kidnapped when he arrived in Siem Reap. The Khmer rouge soldiers base in the jungle of Phnom Kuleane and is also looking for the treasure in order to get back their power. They are informed about the journalist’s journey by their secret agent.

Monday, December 6, 2010

How to travel Phu Quoc Island Vietnam - Travel guide & tips

So you’ve got your motorbike, and you’re ready to explore Phú Quốc. While few travelers to Vietnam run into any problems on the island, keep in mind that much of the land is still undeveloped. Here are a few tips:

Phu Quoc resorts and excursions VietnamPhu Quoc, Vietnam

1. Bring at least 2 liters of water. It gets quite hot during the day, and snack stands are sometimes hard to find. Dehydration can be a serious issue, so come prepared.

2. Keep off military property. The Vietnamese government is very protective of Phú Quốc, and there are military bases (marked by signs) around the island. Although some travelers to Vietnam claim they’ve slipped through unnoticed, it is unwise to intrude upon military property. Irate officers can make your life unpleasant.

Monday, November 29, 2010

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year for Sick and Poor Vietnamese Kids

Hanoi December 13 - December 24, 2010

Volunteer project: International and local volunteers will organize Christmas and New Year festival for extremely poor children living in the Fisher village at the Red River and for the patients of the National Pediatric Hospital in Hanoi. The volunteers will make nice gifts for the children such as light stars.

In the fisher village, in collaboration with the local volunteers and the children, the international participants will organize a big party on the bank of the Red River (theatre, dance, BBQ, etc.). In the Hospital, the volunteers will visit the children in their rooms, dressed as Santa Claus, and will hand out candies and small gifts.
The smile of poor kidsThe smile of poor kids
Between the parties, the volunteers will cook for the children attending the Street children school, and will organize leisure activities for them after school.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Vietnam emerges as one of the top travel destinations: survey

Vietnam has emerged as one of the top destinations for travelers from Thailand, Australia, Japan and Singapore, according to a recent survey compiled by Visa and the Pacific Asia Travel Association (PATA).

Halong Bay, Vietnam

The survey included 6,714 respondents from 13 countries and territories and showed that among all the future travelers who are most likely to visit Vietnam in the next two years, 17 percent are from Thailand. Meanwhile, 16 percent are from Australia, and 11 percent are from Japan and Singapore.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Tourist paths often cross in 'Hello again' Hanoi, Vietnam

Chinapost

These days it's hard to feel like an independent traveler on the road from Hanoi to Saigon.

Anyone who tackles the around 1,145 kilometers from north to south, or in the other direction, will find themselves running into the same people at the pagodas, hostels, bars and restaurants recommended by the same leading travel guides.

“Hello again” might easily be the motto of the trip, although fortunately the familiarity of the travel companions underway does not detract from the many things this part of Vietnam has to offer.

Most tourists in Hanoi check into a hotel in the old part of the city where swarms of clattering mopeds roam the congested streets. Visitors allow themselves to be pedaled around in rickshaws and amid the chaos the odd chicken still manages to hop unscathed from one side of the narrow carriageway to the other.

Everyday tourism remains unaffected by Socialism, the only outward signs of which are the prominent red flag with the yellow star. Vietnam's national colors hang from almost every house, and not just in Hanoi either. Former Vietnamese President Ho Chi Minh is also omnipresent. His embalmed body lies in state in a glass coffin at a mausoleum dedicated to his memory.

This grand example of Soviet-style monumental architecture is an essential stop on any Hanoi tour, just like Halong Bay. Getting there is straightforward, even if the only method on offer for tourists without a hire car is to board one of the numerous air-conditioned minibuses bound for the coast.

Halong Bay is one of the most photographed places in the whole of Vietnam and the images convey an accurate impression of a truly splendid coastal panorama. The limestone pinnacles rise up almost perpendicularly from the shimmering blue water. The bay can get crowded though. The harbor is packed tightly with the numerous tourist boats which ply the sights and the eye is offended by discarded pieces of rubbish bobbing on the waves.

Vietnam travel - Top 10 destinations by boat

Rueters

For those who want to try a more adventurous holiday in 2011, but do not want to leave their home comforts behind, a cruise could provide the solution.

Cruise Critic - a leading online source of cruise reviews and information - offers its top 10 destinations by boat. Reuters has not endorsed this list:

1. Australia

Australia is a huge country and most of the popular tourist spots Down Under are hundreds of miles apart.

However, you can avoid long coach tours, time-consuming drives and expensive internal flights, by sailing lazily along the East Coast, stopping at all the best tourist spots - from the Great Barrier Reef to Sydney harbor.

2. Vietnam/Cambodia

Hot destinations for 2011, Vietnam and Cambodia offer beautiful scenery and vibrant cultures but making your own travel arrangements to tour these exotic destinations can be a daunting task.

Taking a cruise along the Mekong River is an excellent way to enjoy an organized tour through these two countries, without foregoing too many home comforts.

3. Middle East

For a first trip to the Middle East, a cruise offers a gentle introduction to the region and an easy way to explore this part of the world.

A cruise lets you experience the sights, cultures and traditions from a number of countries during your trip, while also allowing you to retreat to more familiar surroundings each evening onboard ship.

4. Alaska

Unless you have the constitution of a husky dog, a cruise is simply the easiest and most relaxing way to enjoy this beautiful, but uncompromising region. The views from the water are spectacular and often the best way to see wildlife and reach the coastal towns and villages.

Optional shore excursions allow you to be as adventurous, or sedate, as you like.

5. South America

Vietnam takes top in list of must-visit destinations

With its distinctive culture, beautiful natural scenery and affordable attractions, Vietnam has emerged as one of the top destinations for travellers in the next two years from Thailand, Australia, Japan and Singapore, according to a survey.

Results of the Asia-Pacific Travel Intentions Survey were shared by two conductors — Visa and the Pacific-Asia Travel Association (PATA) at a seminar in Hanoi.

Among travellers who were most likely to visit Vietnam in the next two years, 17 percent were from Thailand, 16 percent from Australia, and 11 percent from Japan and Singapore, the survey reported.

Nielsen conducted the online survey in May. The survey asked 6,714 respondents from 13 key Asia-Pacific travel source markets about past and future travel plans. The markets included Australia, Hong Kong, India, Japan, mainland China, Malaysia, New Zealand, Singapore, South Korea, Taiwan, Thailand, the UK, and the U.S.

In each market, respondents were internet users, aged 18 years or older, had travelled internationally for holidays in the past two years and had the intention to do so again in the next two years.

Travellers most likely to visit Vietnam in the next two years ranked natural scenery, a new place and affordability as top attractions. They are also likely to be single and prefer to stay at four-star hotels compared with other types of accommodation. They will budget more than US$1,200 for their next vacation and pay more for good food and the opportunity to experience new cultures.

Monday, November 8, 2010

ACTIVETRAVEL ASIA joins Cartitas Switzerland in Project Officer Pro-Poor Tourism in Ha Giang, Viet Nam.

ACTIVETRAVEL ASIA takes part in the new Project Officer for the Pro-Poor Tourism (PPT) project named “Quan Ba District Integrated Community Development Project, Ha Giang province”

Quang Ba, Ha GiangHa Giang, Viet Nam

Caritas Switzerland in Vietnam, together with the local authorities, aims to develop an alternative source of income for the local people with tourism. It will assist the village(r)s through capacity building and awareness raising to become conscientious hosts and take actively part in this new livelihood opportunity.

A first sustainable tourism project has been implemented in 2004-2005, and then a new assessment and evaluation of the potential of a Pro-Poor Tourism strategy development in the area has been conducted in 2009-2010.

This project focus on improving the living quality in Quan Ba district , Ha Giang province, one of the poorest area in Vietnam.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

ACTIVETRAVEL ASIA hosted Australian Motorcycle Travel group in Vietnam in Oct 2010

ACTIVETRAVEL ASIA (ATA) have hosted a group of Australian Motorcyclists to take the motorcycle trip in Ho Chi Minh Trail, Vietnam. This trip started from Hanoi and finish in Hoi An, Quang Nam province in Oct 20, 2010.


With 7-day motorcycling tour in Ho Chi Minh trail in total 11 day trip from Hanoi to Hoi An, Quang Nam province, this motorcycling grading of tour is considered as Moderate to challenging by ATA.

Conquering Fansipan Vietnam to be the champion

Fansipan is the highest peak of Vietnam, Laos and Cambodia, so it is called the “Roof of Indochina” while the local people call it Huasipan, which means large tottering rock.

Conquering Fansipan mountain Vietnam


In late September, we went on a tour called “Conquering the roof of Indochina” held by Local Tours to climb Mount Fansipan, 3,143 meters above sea level. We met at Hanoi railway station at 8:30 p.m. to catch the train to Lao Cai. That night we could not sleep and the weather was very bad.

At 9 a.m. the next morning, we transferred from Sapa Town to Tram Ton pass, which is at an altitude of 1,900 meters, where we started the climb. Dressed in proper mountaineering gear, we were eager for the journey ahead. On our shoulders were light backpacks with water, cookies and fruit and clothes and we carried the “Truong Son stick”. The local porters took the tents, sleeping bags and food ahead of us.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Getting lost in Hanoi, Vietnam


October 31, 2010
By Judy McEuen
Travel Writer - Troy Media

It is easy to feel overwhelmed and lost amidst the Hanoi’s bustling streets and the countless mopeds and bicycles moving around.


But don’t get discouraged, even if you want to immediately hop on the nearest van and set off to the more tranquil and eerily beautiful Halong Bay. While not at first glance obvious, Hanoi has several attractions that are worth seeing and its charm will grow on you if you give it a chance. So, rather than escape the hubbub straight away, don’t be afraid to get lost in the city for a while: I guarantee you will enjoy what it has to offer.

Monday, October 25, 2010

101 reasons to love living in Hanoi

In 2001, Mark Rapoport and his family left New York to settle in Hanoi. The long-time expat and his Vietnamese partner run 54 Traditions, a gallery that sells handicrafts produced by ethnic minorities from all over the country. Almost every year, Rapaport’s two sons visit their parents and travel throughout the city.

Sword lake, HanoiSword lake, Hanoi

“Over the last nine years, my wife, Alison, and I (with some help from our two children Robert and Jane Hughes) have put together a list of 101 reasons why we love living in Hanoi,” Rapaport said. “We presented it as a book, entitled 101 reasons to love living in Hanoi, which we published last July to celebrate the 1,000th year anniversary of Thang Long – Hanoi.”

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

A Soldier Returns.. as a Tourist Da Nang, Hoi An and Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam


Posted by Alan Buckelew
October 19, 2010
Like a lot of Vietnam veterans, I don't talk much about my experience "over there."
A Soldier Returns … as a TouristAlan with his daughters Erin and Fallon, and his wife Christine in Da Nang.

Until a few years ago if someone had asked me to make a bucket list of countries to visit, Vietnam would have been at or near the bottom. I guess you could say, “been there, done that.” I served in the U.S. Army in Vietnam from June 1969 until June 1970. I was part of a recon platoon called Fox Force. We operated in the Central Highlands of Vietnam – in the mountains and jungles of that area. Unlike any unit I’m aware of we wore red scarves – always – even on combat missions. We had a well-earned reputation, and our red scarves clearly set us apart from other soldiers in our division. We were told the enemy had a $10,000 bounty on each of us. It didn’t really matter because in the year I was part of Fox, the enemy never killed a single member of our team. We were in combat frequently but were never ambushed or surprised. If we were a baseball team, we would have ended our season with all wins and no losses, and with most games pitched as no hitters. I’m sure history books will say the U.S. lost that war, but we were ahead when I left.

Like a lot of Vietnam veterans, I don’t talk much about my experience “over there.” I have been blessed with the ability to compartmentalize my combat experiences. They are like a box of Christmas ornaments up in the attic; I still have them, but they don’t get in the way of daily life. Vietnam veterans were, for the most part, not welcomed home and often quite the opposite, so compartmentalization was a useful way to avoid unwelcome confrontation.

Alan Buckelew, Princess Cruises President and CEO

Alan at Firebase Lois on his 21st birthday wearing the red scarf of his Fox Force platoon.

In 2000 my old unit, Fox, held a reunion, and has every year since. The Fox team comes from every walk of life in America, making us quite an odd collection of souls, but we share a common bond that only other combat veterans can appreciate. We wear our red scarves when we are together, but also wear red wrist bands, specially inscribed, when we are not together. I’m proud to say my youngest daughter had the inspiration for the red wrist bands. Sadly, about 25 percent of the team have passed away since our first meeting – all from Agent Orange-related cancers.

In the last few years I’ve wanted to return to Vietnam. I’m not completely sure why, but it just felt like it was time for me to complete the journey that began almost 40 years ago. Being blessed in my occupation, I booked an Asian cruise that sailed in December 2009. Unfortunately due to timing, cost and other personal issues, none of my Fox Force teammates could join me and my family on the cruise. The cruise began in Shanghai and ended in Bangkok – truly a fantastic way to visit the highlights of Asia. The cruise had two stops in Vietnam: Da Nang and Ho Chi Minh City. I was excited to return to Vietnam, but also to share all of Asia with my family who had never traveled to this part of the world.

I was excited about our arrival in Da Nang, our first Vietnamese port of call. I awoke early to watch as the ship berthed. The port is not near the city, so all I could see was a small harbor and the surrounding countryside, which was at once familiar, but not the Vietnam I had experienced. Da Nang is a coastal city northeast of where I served. There are no jungles there, which is just as well, as no one would want to visit the areas where I served; they are too remote and densely vegetated.

Monday, October 18, 2010

Travel postcard: Hanoi, Vietnam


With its remnants of French-colonial architecture, lively ‘Old Quarter’ alleyways and streetside culinary culture Hanoi might just be Southeast Asia’s most charming capital city. It may be the oldest, too.

In October, the city entered party mode to mark the 1000th anniversary of the founding of Thang Long, the settlement established by King Ly Thai To on the Red River in the year 1010 that has grown into a metropolis of 6 million inhabitants.


Hanoi Travelers

Here are some suggestions from Reuters correspondents with local knowledge to help you make the most of a 48-hour visit:

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

10 Things Travel Guidebooks Won't Say


1. We’re already out of date.

After more than a week in $5-a-night hostels in Peru, Caitlin Childs was looking forward to a hot shower and a comfortable bed. But when she got to the Hotel Paracas, there was no hot shower, no bed – and no hotel. “It had been leveled in an earthquake the year before,” says Childs, a graphic designer and frequent traveler. It turned out her Footprint Peru Handbook – the latest edition – had been published a year and a half before her July 2008 trip.

Even without earthquakes, much of the information covered by guidebooks changes too fast for book publishers to keep up. Restaurants close, quaint markets lose their cachet, and trains change their schedules. If it’s essential to your trip, make a phone call before you go, says Peggy Goldman, the president of Friendly Planet Travel, a tour operator. Never rely on a guidebook for key information like whether you’ll need a visa to enter a country and how much it will cost, or what vaccinations you might need, Goldman says, because those facts can change rapidly. Although the guidebook’s web site may have more up-to-date information, travelers should still check with the consulate and look for CDC alerts for the latest information.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Halong Bay: A World of Mystery Viet Nam

Halong Bay is probably where you would find yourself. Majestic and mysterious, Vietnam’s Halong Bay is a breathtaking location with over 2000 incredible jagged islands and islets rising from the emerald waters of the Gulf of Tonkin.

Halong Bay, VietnamHalong Bay, Vietnam

This superb panorama of limestone peaks enshrouded in mist, tumbling into the gently lapping sea and enclosing within its folds striking hidden caves is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

The near-perpendicular pinnacles conceal the remains of many grottos and caverns, created over millions of years ago through a complex process of erosion whereby water trickled through limestone cracks enlarging them to create spectacular caves and resulting in the distinctive towers seen today.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Get Ready Adventures in Vietnam’s Best Eco Lodges

Renowned for hiking, highly qualified local guides, stunning backdrops and a rich cultural heritage, Vietnam’s northwestern highlands are a prime destination for travelers looking for an off-the-beaten-path adventure like no other. Making the region even more attractive are the spectacular eco-friendly accommodations built on a vision of community sustainability.

Mai Chau, VietnamMai Chau Valley, Vietnam

Mai Chau Lodge
Nestled in the stunningly beautiful mountainous region of Hoa Binh Province, 135 km south of Hanoi, Mai Chau Lodge strives to preserve local traditions, culture and the natural surroundings of its lush valley setting. The lodge is built from a socially and environmentally responsible vision. Using sustainable local materials, Mai Chau Lodge boasts a natural beauty, blending perfectly into its surroundings.

Thursday, September 30, 2010

Vietnam's Phu Quoc island slowly opening up to the world

Its growing popularity and developing hospitality might make it a runaway success, which at least one visitor hopes won't spoil its tropical perfection and laid-back atmosphere.

Phu Quoc Island, Vietnam

Reporting from Phu Quoc, Vietnan

During the four years I lived in Hanoi, where I was The Times' bureau chief in the late 1990s, I did a pretty good job of getting around Vietnam and exploring new places, from Can Tho in the southern Mekong Delta to Sapa on the northern border with China. But I missed Phu Quoc, Vietnam's largest island. So did most people. Unless you were a backpacker looking for a cheap beach hotel, there wasn't much reason to go.

Fast forward to 2010. Phu Quoc, once known mainly for its pungent fish sauce and wartime history, is the hottest new tourist destination in Vietnam, a slice of tropical perfection with mile after mile of wide, uncrowded beaches, dense jungle, virgin rain forests and a lazy, laid-back atmosphere that reminds a visitor of what Phuket, Thailand, was like a generation ago.

Chuck Searcy, a former U.S. serviceman who lives in Vietnam and runs humanitarian programs, remembers his only visit to Phu Quoc about a dozen years ago. His plane circled the airport three times to scare cows off the runway, and the island had only three hotels, "all decidedly 'no star,' to put it kindly." Said Searcy: "I'm sure I wouldn't recognize the place today."

A few weeks ago, my wife, Sandy, and I hopped onto one of the nine daily turboprop flights Vietnam Airlines runs from Ho Chi Minh City (formerly Saigon) to Phu Quoc. No cows impeded our arrival. Our taxi took us through the dusty town of Duong Dong and down a dirt road lined with little patio restaurants; a cemetery, crammed between two bars; and a bamboo hut that served as a laundry. Although I had a moment of doubt, our driver insisted that just ahead lay La Veranda, Phu Quoc's first five-star resort.


The jungle parted, and we caught a glimpse of the Gulf of Thailand and Long Beach, which stretches for 12 miles. And in a waterside clearing lush with flowers and foliage stood La Veranda, a 48-room boutique hotel and spa with two restaurants. It seemed as though we had stumbled onto a French colonial plantation, its large louvered windows open to the sea, its deep balconies, high ceilings and overhead fans reminiscent of a bygone era.

That, in fact, is exactly what the owner, Catherine Gerbet, had in mind when she designed the hotel, now 4 years old. A French Vietnamese, she was born in Cambodia, raised in Hong Kong and lived in Saigon. Her goal was to build something that captured her childhood memories of Asia, and she didn't miss a touch. I wouldn't have blinked had I seen Graham Greene sipping a martini while sitting in one of the bar's wicker chairs.

I asked La Veranda's Swiss general manager, Nicolas Josi, what attracted foreigners to Phu Quoc and what they did when they got here.

"First, the island is just being discovered. It still feels authentic," Josi said. "You won't, for instance, find a building over two stories. A lot of our guests are tourists who have been hurrying about in Ho Chi Minh City and Hue and Hanoi. They take a break here to recharge their batteries. What they like to do here is often nothing, just relax."

Phu Quoc, a triangle-shaped island just 30 miles long, is closer to Cambodia than to the Vietnamese mainland. Settled in the 17th century by Vietnamese and Chinese farmers and fishermen, it was occupied in 1869 by French colonialists who built rubber and coconut plantations. The island was so remote for so long that when Saigon fell to Communist troops in April 1975, Phu Quoc's 10,000 people hardly seemed to notice and went quietly about their daily business, catching squid and tending their pepper vines.

But the island's isolation did not shelter it from war. Vietnam's largest prisoner-of-war camp was here, near the U.S. naval base at An Thoi on the southern tip of the island. Pol Pot's murderous Khmer Rouge guerrillas invaded and briefly occupied the island after Saigon's fall, and some of the non-Communist South Vietnamese forced out of the cities by Vietnam's harsh, new rulers were resettled here and told to become farmers.

"My parents were teachers. They didn't know how to grow turnips. We nearly starved," said Hoi Trinh, a Vietnamese Australian lawyer, who arrived here with his family in 1977 as a 7-year-old. To help support his family he sold watermelon seeds on Long Beach, not far from where La Veranda now stands. When he and his father were caught trying to flee by boat to Malaysia, young Trinh was sentenced to a month in Prison No. 7.

It was a full day before my wife and I emerged from La Veranda. We were massaged, fed, pampered at the swimming pool and on the beach by a locally recruited and trained staff whose eagerness to please and unfailing politeness more than compensated for its struggle with foreign languages. We checked out a trip to Ganh Dau on the northwest coast: Scuba diving, including transportation, lunch and equipment, was $80 for the day; snorkeling, $25. The water, we were told, was 88 degrees with a visibility of 30 feet. Instead we hired a taxi with a driver who spoke some English and set out to explore the island. The cost for three hours would be $30.

Scores of beachside bungalow-style hotels with open-air bars and restaurants were tucked unobtrusively among clusters of palms on the coastal road south. Some charged as little as $25 a night. French road markers along the way showed the distance to the next village. Hammocks, often occupied, hung in tree-shaded front yards. Peppercorns lay drying on faded blue tarpaulins, a reminder that Vietnam is among the world's largest exporters of pepper. Sometimes we caught a whiff of nuoc mam fish sauce, which the Vietnamese use to flavor almost every dish. We stopped at one of the many pearl farms, where a clerk showed us a $9,000 necklace. Happily, Sandy settled on a pair of $70 earrings.

The fishing boats had long since pulled out of An Thoi and other little ports, having left at dawn not to return until sunset, by the time we reached Coconut Prison. It was built by the colonialists in 1953, a year before Vietnam defeated France at Dien Bien Phu. The Americans and their South Vietnamese allies took over the 1,000-acre site in 1967, and for a time it held 40,000 North Vietnamese prisoners of war. More than 4,000 were said to have died there.

Guard towers still loom over rows of windowless tin POW barracks that are surrounded by coils of concertina wire. Except for an occasional tourist, the place was silent and empty. The small nearby museum (admission is 3,000 dong, about 16 cents) is not for the faint-hearted, with its scenes of torture depicted by chillingly real life-size mannequins.

The grimness of the place seemed incompatible with the tranquility of Phu Quoc, and leaves one thankful that Vietnam has known 35 years of peace. And what changes that peace has wrought. Less than three decades ago Vietnam had no tourist industry, and Vietnamese were forbidden to speak or socialize with foreigners.

Today, Vietnam attracts nearly 4 million tourists a year and luxury resorts — which numbered one when the five-star Furama opened on Da Nang's China Beach in the mid-1990s — reach up the coastline from Vung Tau, south of Ho Chi Minh City, to Thanh Hoa, near the former demilitarized zone.

With tourism creating jobs and spreading wealth, Phu Quoc's population has surged to 70,000, even though the northern part of the island, home to a large national park, is mostly uninhabited. Phu Quoc absorbs well the 50,000-plus visitors it draws annually, but changes are afoot.

The government has a master plan to develop Phu Quoc into a high-quality eco-tourism destination by 2020, when it aims to attract 2.3 million visitors a year. An international airport is scheduled to open in two years to accommodate nonstop flights from Japan, Thailand, Singapore and Hong Kong. Roads and bridges are being rebuilt and a deep-water port is being dug at An Thoi. Life may never be the same for an island that now uses generators to produce much of its electricity and gets its water from wells.

Driving north from An Thoi at sunset, watching the fishing boats return to port, we passed Duong Dong's night market, where $2 gets you a fresh seafood dinner, and got out of the taxi to walk on a deserted beach the last mile to La Veranda. Phu Quoc, I hoped that warm, star-lit night, would not lose its character in the tidal wave of coming development, because even by the toughest of standards, it's just about perfect as it is.

Source: Chicago Tribune

Contact ActiveTravel Asia for an active trip to discover this beautiful island.

A World of Romantic Adventure Awaits You in Da Lat, Viet Nam

Perched high in the Southern Central Highlands amidst valleys, lakes and waterfalls, Vietnam’s Dalat is known for its mountain scenery and delightfully cool weather.

Dalat, Vietnam

Bike Dalat, Vietnam

Originally inhabited by the Lat and Ma Hil tribes (Da Lat meaning “stream of the Lat People”), who now live in nearby Lat and Chicken Villages, Dalat became a holiday resort for commanders who tired of the tropical Vietnamese climate during the French Colonial era. It remains Vietnam’s “Le Petit Paris” and its “city of eternal spring”, its colonial mansions and over 2000 remaining French villas still reflecting its French influence.

Monday, September 27, 2010

ACTIVETRAVEL ASIA focus on promoting Active Travel in Vietnam, Laos and Cambodia in 2011


Active travel refers to an approach to travel and transport that focuses on physical activity (walking and cycling) as opposed to motorized and carbon-dependent means. Doing so would have the multiple benefits of increasing levels of physical fitness and reducing rates of overweight and obesity, whilst reducing the consumption of fossil fuels and consequent Carbon emissions.

Why ACTIVETRAVEL ASIA (ATA) focuses on active travel? Global climate change due to fossil fuel usage and the continued increase in obesity and overweight are amongst the most serious health and environmental problems the world is currently facing. A shift towards active travel is being increasingly presented as an effective approach to tackling both these challenges. ATA makes strong recommendations that promoting and facilitating cycling, walking, trekking and kayaking should become key components of an integrated anti-obesity strategy, as this would represent "...physical activity incorporated into the fabric of everyday life."


Sapa terrace field, Vietnam
Sapa Terrace Field Vietnam

Studies have shown that the recent global increase in levels of overweight and obesity are in large part due to the decrease in physical activity by children and adults. Partly this is explicable through an increase in more sedentary forms of leisure (TV, video games) but to a large extent low levels of walking, cycling, trekking and kayaking are also implicated.

In response to this, in UK, Public Health and environmental had campaigns to advocate for stronger policies and practices that promote active travel, and make cycling and walking safer and more attractive. The intention being that these modes could in many instances replace car usage for everyday journeys to school, shops, public services etc. To facilitate this would require local planning and highway authorities to invest in ensuring safe routes are available to these destinations especially in Vietnam, Laos and Cambodia (danger from other road traffic is frequently cited as the primary reason for not cycling.) In many areas in Vietnam, Laos & Cambodia, the current focus of development for cycle, trek and kayak provision are on isolated leisure trails, resulting in highly fragmented cycle routes and pavements/sidewalks, which do not link effectively to everyday destinations.

Actions on Active Travel
ATA have studied the itineraries in local areas for Active Travel which helps travelers have habits to increase in walking and cycling after holidays as well as effective response to the steadily increasing problem of overweight and obesity, and also help reduce carbon emissions.

Recommend some itineraries

Vietnam
- Sapa trekking & homestay
- West to East biking exploration
- Kayaking Halong bay

Cambodia

- Cycling Angkor Wat
- Trek Angkor Wat

Laos

- Trek Luang Prabang
- Trek Luang Namtha

Friday, September 24, 2010

Floating Markets of the Mekong Delta, Vietnam

Vietnam is incredible and still authentic – it’s not “spruced up” for tourists. Nowhere is this more obvious than in the Mekong Delta, with its floating markets, where locals live, work and earn a living from the many tributaries of the river. You can easily get a feel for the real workings of this country and how things are done. Here, everyone is an entrepreneur of sorts!

floating market, VietnamFloating market, Can Tho, Vietnam

As the food basket of Vietnam, the Mekong Delta covers an immense area winding its way over 3000 mi. from Tibet through Cambodia to Vietnam’s Peninsula, where it spills into the South China Sea. It is marvelously fertile, and views here are all related to riverside life, orchards, rice paddies and any food-related small industry. From snakes swimming in whisky to coconut candy, everything here reflects the flavors of Vietnamese culture.

The floating markets in the Mekong highlight the shape of life here, where people live, shop, sell and eat from and in their vessels and homes on the water. Getting to the area involves a lot of boat/bus/ferry/foot combinations, but its well worth the effort. We arrived from Saigon on our 3-day trip, which included Can Tho and Vinh Long.

The journey down was a long, hobbling, creaking bus ride, passing paddy fields and other fields with every variety of food being grown here. We stopped for lunch in Vinh Long. We walked around the “land” market of local shops with their goods set up in baskets on the street, where all kinds of colors and scents greeted our senses. A small motor launch took us along a peaceful tributary (away from the madding crowd of the main river) where each bend brought a new surprise and gorgeous scenery before we reached the home of a local farmer for lunch.

We arrived in vibrant Can Tho, the delta’s largest city, in the late afternoon and spent the time exploring this busy and lively port city. We rose the next morning at 4 am in raw anticipation. The day on the river begins at the crack of dawn and floating markets are held every morning from about 5 am till noon. We got into a small motor boat and made our way up the river to our first “stop” – the Phung Hiep market, the largest of the floating markets, located at the crossroads of 7 major canals.

The picture that greeted us was like laundry hanging out to dry. A maze of hundreds of sampans spread out on the busy river, hoisting samples of their wares on towering bamboo poles, to be seen from a distance. Coconuts, melons, mangoes, a heap of turtles, snakes, vegetables, fish, urns and vases and so much more all piled high on the vessels.
floating market, VietnamFlowers in floating market, Vietnam

A beehive of activity where traders snapped up everything by the bushels to resell at local markets; where smaller merchants weaved their way between larger boats and suddenly, a spectacle of pineapples or cabbage flying through the air between vendor and shopper. In between, floating restaurants, floating bars, floating gas stations and many other floating shops winding deftly between the boats. The lively, near –frenzied pace here was an unmatched view into local culture.

We made our way to land for an afternoon cycling trip through the quiet lanes near Can Tho, biking through small villages and beautiful countryside, and in spite of the language barrier, meeting some very pleasant and friendly people.

Early the next morning, we visited the Cai Rang floating market for a second taste of this experience. Primarily a produce market, it is always busy, bearing all the characteristics of local life. After the market, we visited some small home industries where villagers made everything from coconut candies to rice paper. We ended our trip with a trek through lush orchards and bee farms. The highlight of the afternoon was a visit to the Dong Nam snake farm, where over 20 varieties of venomous snakes are used in drinks and food for medicinal purposes – some soaked in large flasks of whisky!

The Mekong Delta, with its hustle-bustle, its genuine locals, its overgrown streams and great scenery, and above all, its characteristic floating markets is one of the most fascinating parts of this fascinating country and a springboard for getting to know Vietnamese culture and its people up close.

Source: familyadventuretravelworks

Recommendations for traveling in Mekong Delta, Vietnam:

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Vietnam: Get ready to Discover Adventure


One of the most enriching countries in the world,Vietnam is an absolute assault on the senses. This is a country which offers highly rewarding adventure travel, active vacations and cultural immersion in a wonderfully exotic way of life.


Blessed with captivating cities, lush soaring mountains, over 1500 km of coastline with white sandy beaches, and home to colonial palaces, pagodas, tombs and temples and hill-tribe peoples, Vietnam is an adventure waiting to be discovered.

Hanoi and the North

Hanoi, VietnamSword lake in Hanoi, Vietnam

Northern Vietnam is breathtaking with its high mountains, emerald green forests and valleys, its picturesque seascapes and lush scenery. Elegant Hanoi, a blend of Indochinese and French influences and Vietnam’s capital, is one of the loveliest cities in Asia. Teeming with lakes and monuments, an Old Town with narrow streets crammed with artisans’ shops, and a French Quarter characterized by beautiful colonial buildings, it is a city to explore on foot.

Friday, September 17, 2010

Is Vietnam the Right Destination For Adventure Travel?

An exciting experience from any dangerous situation is called “Adventure”. It may cause physical dangers, financial or psychological risks. Adventure experience creates physical or mental arousal. It can be positive or sometime negative. Most of the travelers are interested to explore adventurous areas. They love to be the adventurers. The adventure traveling activity includes skydiving, mountain climbing, scuba diving, skiing and any kind of extreme sports.

Sapa Vietnam
Sapa Vietnam

I would like to watch only adventurous sports. It creates an excitement and makes us to avoid moving. It was the initial stage when I attracted towards this adventure. My first adventure started traveling on mountainous areas for mountain walking. Slowly I moved to the next step of trekking. Now, my interest includes mountain walking, hiking, trekking and mountain climbing.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Tet Trung Thu (Mid- Autumn Festival) in Vietnam


In Vietnam, Têt-Trung-Thu (tet-troong-thoo) or the Mid-Autumn Festival is one of the most popular family holidays. It is held on the 15th day of the 8th lunar month.



Vietnamese families plan their activities around their children on this special day. In a Vietnamese folklore, parents were working so hard to prepare for the harvest that they left the children playing by themselves. To make up for lost time, parents would use the Mid-Autumn festival as an opportunity to show their love and appreciation for their children.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Vietnam attractions: Da Nang


Da Nang, Vietnam doesn't have the history of Hue, nor the charm of Hoi An. What it does have are pristine beaches, cool mountain hideaways and the relaxation that comes with being away from most other tourists - and most of the people whose job it is to bug the other tourists - as well as beachside restaurants.

Bamboo fishing boats in Danang beach


One clam is never enough. Two, not even close. They make their way to the table in a steaming bowl, the scent of lemon grass and sea salt summonsing the drool of any diner within a 10-metre radius. They're plonked in front of you, swimming in a pool of cloudy liquid, the steam quickly whipped away by Da Nang's ocean breeze.

"You have one first," says Ngo, reaching into the bowl and picking up three of the open shells, shoving them in front of me. There's a pause as I eye my prey.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Dambri in Da Lat, Vietnam, the girl longing for love


Once upon a time, in a village near a big river in Dalat, there was a young couple who were deeply in love.

Dambri waterfall in Dalat, Vietnam

They wanted to spend their life together but the girl’s father was a rich village chief who wouldn’t allow his daughter to marry the young man from a poor family. The chief then forced the boy to leave the village causing his daughter great sorrow.

Monday, August 30, 2010

Discovering the flavor and beauty of Vietnam’s UNESCO sites

The author chose 4 UNESCO sites in Vietnam for his discovery : Halong bay,Hanoi, Hue,and Hoi An. These sites is beautiful and peaceful.

A golden sunrise illuminated the Old Quarter’s ancient dwellings draped in fuchsia bougainvilleas. It also lit the Thu Bon River, where the small fishing boats had just pulled up to shore. It was 5:30 a.m. as I approached the central marketplace, where I experienced the tastes, sounds, and energy—the real life of the local people. Vietnam’s gem-city of Hoi An was just awakening.

Hoi an, VietnamStreet of lanterns, Hoi An, Vietnam

Greeting the Day
Women in conical straw hats with bright smiles balanced long poles over their shoulders. Their poles were heavy with hanging baskets stuffed with vegetables, fish, and even live geese, as they scurried along the dirt pathways. The endless array of baskets filled with herbs covered the ground in a blanket of greenery, while pungent fish and spice aromas permeated the air.

Friday, August 27, 2010

Exploring the Ho Chi Minh Trail, Vietnam

The Ho Chi Minh trail, made famous as a supply route for the North Vietnamese in the Vietnam War with America, is actually a network of trails and dirt roads roughly paralleling the Vietnam/Laos border.

Motorcycling on Ho Chi Minh trail, Vietnam

These trails were originally developed during the resistance movement against the French and were used to move troops and supplies during both conflicts.

There is no “official” Ho Chi Minh Trail because it is a loose network of trails, and there are no official tourist opportunities available on the trail, but the trail is available for hiking or biking as a traveler sees fit.

Danang is a good place to start. Flying into Danang will help you get your bearings in this country, and someone will help point you in the right direction. Going to villages to the west of Vietnam is your best bet, but understand that nothing official has been set up regarding the Ho Chi Minh trail. There are no museums or cultural exploration sites, nor are there marked trails or visitor’s centers. Renting a mountain bike and exploring the trails on your own is your best bet to experience the Ho Chi Minh trail.

Some war relics remain in these areas, destroyed tanks, shrapnel, etc.; anything that is too large to take to a recycling facility easily. These can be found lying in the open or buried under jungle growth. Keep in mind that it is important to stay on the trails as some of the U.S. bombs and mines may still be live in the areas.

A good place to explore is in the southern part of Vietnam near Ho Chi Minh City. The Cu Chi tunnels that were built to infiltrate enemy lines were built in conjunction with a few of the supply trails. Many of these tunnels have been developed into attractions for visitors; they can tour almost 200 kilometers of tunnels built during the Vietnamese – American war.

Because the trails meander between Laos and Vietnam, it is important to know where you are and where you are going. This will keep you from breaking your visa agreement and being fined or kicked out of the country. Visas must be applied for at least six months prior to entry date. Tourist visas are granted for one month, but may be extended after arrival in Vietnam, and only allow one entry into the country.

Viajes Indochina Introduce New Viajes Vietnam Website

Viajes Vietnam tour and travel guide with tips, advice and useful information on travel activities on tours provided direct from local tour operators. This guide helps travelers find out what to see and do and plan the travel itinerary.

Viajes Vietnam

Viajes Indochina is pleased to announce the launch of a new website section that features Viajes Vietnam tours which are supplied direct from tour operators based in Vietnam. Take no chances with the next vacation, travel with those who know the destination by experience.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Sleepless in Saigon, Vietnam: So many sights, so little time

It is HCMC or Ho Chi Minh City now, but the Vietnamese still call it Saigon and call themselves Saigonese.

Saigon has been one of the places in my must-visit list and it was surprising that not too many people share that sentiment about this country made famous by a war. It took a year to gather friends who would be willing to go to an adventure, as most friends would rather spend on a trip of pleasure.

Saigon didn’t disappoint us, and even surprised us with sights and insights you do not find anywhere else.

Cao Dai Temple, VietnamCao Dai Temple, Tay Ninh, Vietnam

Cao Dai Temple
About three hours from Saigon is the Tay Ninh Holy See, or Cao Dai Temple, the center of the Cao Dai Religion. This religion was established in Vietnam in 1926 and now counts two to three million followers scattered in Vietnam, Cambodia, France, and US.

The Temple has nine levels, representing the nine steps to heaven. Black, scaly dragons wrap the pink columns supporting the ceiling painted like a summer sky. These columns mark the beginning and end of each level, and served as the boundary for how far the tourists could go.

At the end of the hall is the altar which looks like a globe with an eye. Elders offered incense here. Tourists are not allowed to walk or even stand, much less shoot a picture, at the middle section of the hall, even outside worship hours.

Cu Chi Tunnel
The Cu Chi Tunnel was Vietnam’s secret weapon against the Americans. It was a 250- kilometer underground tunnel network that stretched from Saigon to the Cambodian border. The Cu Chi tunnels served as hospitals, command centers, living areas, kitchen, and supplies storage during the Vietnam War.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Viajes Indochina kicks off special Viajes Vietnam for honeymoon couples

Viajes Indochina has a special offer tour named “Special Viajes Vietnam” for couples who are in the honeymoon week. Enjoy the sweet as honey emotions beside the love of the life, in the most famous and romantic of Vietnam.

Halong bay, VietnamHalong bay, Vietnam

Viajes Indochina Agency (AVI) is brand name of Spain language market where ACTIVETRAVEL ASIA (a largest and most prestigious tour operator in Vietnam) offers professional travel sevices and holiday package which have been widely accepted by customers primarily in Spain, Mexico, Venezuela.

Monday, August 16, 2010

Life on the Ba Be lake in Vietnam

At nearly 150 meters above sea level, Ba Be is Vietnam’s highest and biggest lake. It remains full all year round. Ba Be mean three lakes in Tay language, Ba Be Lake is nine kilometers long and averages one kilometer across. The lake’s deepest point measures 35 meters.

Ba Be lake, Bac Kan, VietnamBa Be lake, Bac Kan, Vietnam

The road to Ba Be Lake is winding and crooked.

At times concrete gives way to dirt and I begin to wonder why I’m travelling 240 kilometers northwest of the capital’s comforts.

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Halong Bay Vietnam - Where dragons lie

By CHOU K. S.

Nothing is more romantic than cruising Halong Bay in a rustic wooden junk.

After several days of being caught in the hustle and bustle of Hanoi, we badly needed to escape the chaos of Vietnam’s second largest city. So we did what most tourists here do — head for Ha Long Bay, 170km east of Hanoi.

Halong Bay Vietnam

The bay, dotted with countless mist-shrouded limestone islands, offers a stunning seascape that must rank as one of the most spectacular sights in Vietnam.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Top 5 adventure destinations in Vietnam

According to Bootsnall travel network, there are 5 adventure destinations Vietnam recommended for tourists to travel.

Vietnam seems to be one of the new hotspots in Southeast Asia. Vietnam’s new slogan is “it’s a country, not a war”. Currently Vietnam is experiencing a massive influx of tourists not only interested in it war history, but also interested in the immense amount of soft adventure trips available throughout the country.

Below are a few of our favorites and recommendations:

HALONG BAY

Halong bay, VietnamHalong bay, Vietnam

Often touted as Vietnam’s number one tourist destination, Halong Bay, literally means “where the dragon descends into the sea.” This is an area of more than 3000 islands, where tourist come to swim, explore, and visit a natural, scenic areas recognized in 1994 on UNESCO’s World Heritage list. This is a scenic area not to be missed!

Many of the islands are uninhabited, but some have floating villages of fishermen. Most travelers rent boats and spend multiple days exploring the tiny islands. There are some great caves and inlets to explore. The great way to experience this is on sea kayak, and sleeping in a tent at night, instead of taking the main tourists boats like everybody else.


The highest point in Bach Ma National Park, the mountain is only 140 meters above sea level and about 18 miles from the coast. Although the mountain is steep and dense, it makes a good day hike to the top. There are great view on the way.

WESTERN CENTRAL HIGHLANDS

Using Dalat as a starting point, head west toward the border of Cambodia and Laos. If you go far enough west, this is a great way to get somewhere way off the typical Vietnam traveler circuit. This is home to a bunch of ethnic minority villages.

Some traveler’s report that tourists are not welcome, but other report to have truly remarkable experiences.

DALAT
Dalat, VietnamDalat, Vietnam

If you don’t have time, energy, or the will power to visit the Western Central Highlands, then the areas around Dalat are perfect for adventure. Dalat is a hill station in the central highland. There are mountain highlands with tiny villages scattered around throughout the area. It makes a fascinating area worth exploring.

There are a number of standard expensive tours you can arrange in the city, but it’s much better to hire your own guide, usually one that approaches you in the streets. Then, you hire a moped, and he will take you to little villages in the middle of bascially nowhere, staying a night or two and having a real cultural experience.

There are some villages in the area that is off limits to tourists – just look for the sign that has a C.

MEKONG DELTA

Mekong delta, VietnamMarket floating in Mekong Delta, Vietnam

In southern Vietnam near the border of Cambodia lies Mekong Delta. Known as “Vietnam’s Rice Belt,” the Mekong Delta is a huge system of canals of all sizes that flow into the Mekong River, one of the longest rivers in Asia. This picturesque area is almost all under cultivation, and produces enough rice to feed the entire population of the south and the central regions of Vietnam. This is a great place to relax away from the big cities, taste good fruit and vegetables, and meet local people.

There are a number of interesting adventures through the Mekong Delta. You can take a boat through some of the rural waterways. Most people hire guides but you can also attempt it on your own. The Mekong Delta is also a fascinating place for cycling. You can get a true glimpse of rural life and interact with locals, although conversations are difficult.

Source: bootsnall

Recommendations for tours in Vietnam:

Kayaking Halong bay 3 days
Biking Adventures Mekong & Centre Highland